At BEA, the winners of the 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, which have been presented annually since 1967, were announced. But the annual awards ceremony took place last Friday, October 10, at Simmons College in Boston, which is also the site of the new home for the Horn Book.
Fiction winner Andrew Smith, author of Grasshopper Jungle (Dutton), opened with a Renata Adler quote taken from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slapstick: “A writer is someone who hates writing.” If that’s the case, then Smith is definitely the real deal. “I wrote this story about these kids who all love each other and destroy their world, which is a lot like I feel about writing,” he said.
Picture book winner Peter Brown, author and illustrator of Mr. Tiger Goes Wild (Little, Brown) said that he’s always been interested in “transformation.” and noted how in a single page turn Babar goes from being naked and walking on four legs to being clothed and walking on two. He wanted to write about the transformation that happened during the page turn. “My proudest achievement,” he said, “is I managed to put a nude centerfold in a picture book.”
Nonfiction honor book author Patricia Hruby Powell (Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, Chronicle) wrote about the American-born dancer, singer, and actress to provide a role model for teens. “Josephine Baker represented so much in my life,” said Powell. “She represented that where you come from doesn’t meant that’s where you have to go.” Pictured with her is the book’s illustrator, Christian Robinson.
Nonfiction winner Steve Sheinkin, author of The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights (Roaring Brook), had never heard of the 1944 explosion that killed 300 people, almost all African-Americans who had enlisted in the navy, until he started working on the story. When he tried to research it and the ensuing mutiny, all sources led him to a single book, The Port Chicago Mutiny by Robert Allen. “When I talk to students, I tell them [research] is like detective work,” said Sheinkin, who tracked down Allen.
Roger Sutton (l.), editor-in-chief of the Horn Book, waiting to help Arthur Levine, publisher of his eponymous imprint at Scholastic, read Shaun Tan’s speech. Sutton read the part where Tan praised his editor, and then Levine continued. The picture book honor winner for Rules of Summer (Scholastic/Levine) was unable to attend from Australia.